The recent negative publicity over antibiotic use in turkey production underscores that efforts must be made to educate the public that antibiotics are not just placed into feed to help prevent an outbreak of any random disease or as a growth promoter. Antibiotics are carefully prescribed for treatment and prevention of specific diseases in poultry flocks.

Dr.  William Flynn, deputy director for science policy at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, was one of four veterinarians who took part in a panel discussion, "The role of the Veterinary Feed Directive - The future of antibiotics in poultry production," hosted by  WATTAgNet.com  and sponsored by Zoetis. Their discussion can be viewed on an  online video .    

According to Dr. Flynn: "There may be some misperceptions that when we talk about disease prevention that it's in a generic sense, that  antibiotics  are being put into feed, for example, to sort of prevent whatever disease comes along. That's not at all what we're talking about here, and we wouldn't consider this to be a judicious use of that drug.  

"You are specifically identifying a disease that you believe a specific group of animals is at risk of being exposed to and having an outbreak of a disease, and based on that risk, made the decision that it's warranted to administer the drug or antibiotic in a preventative modality," Flynn said.

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Flynn was joined in the discussion by Dr. G. Donald Ritter, Mountaire Farms director of health services; Dr. Randy Singer, associate professor, University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences; and Dr. Stephen Sutherland, Zoetis senior director of regulatory affairs.